When something is going on with your pet, it can be overwhelming to figure out the issue. If you suspect your pet has Cushing’s Disease, or if your dog has already been diagnosed, it can be even more confusing to know how to treat it and keep your pet feeling their best. If your pet has been diagnosed with Cushing’s, or if you think that your pet may have Cushing’s, we can help.
What causes Cushing’s Disease?
Cushing’s Disease, which is also called hypercortisolism and hyperadrenocorticism, is an endocrine disorder that causes your dog’s body to make too much cortisone or cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a hormone that helps control stress, weight, infections, and blood sugar. Too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your pet’s overall wellbeing.
Cushing’s usually occurs in middle-age or older dogs, there are three types of Cushing’s Disease in dogs. Cushing’s is caused by:
- Tumor(s) on the adrenal gland (also called adrenal dependent Cushing’s).
- Tumor(s) on the pituitary gland (which is called pituitary dependent Cushing’s).
- Over-prescription of steroids (which is referred to as iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome).
What are the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease?
Many of the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease mimic the signs of aging. Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease include:
- Being thirstier than usual.
- Excessive hunger.
- Excessive urination and accidents indoors.
- Thinning skin.
- Excessive panting.
- Hair loss or hair taking longer than usual to grow.
- Getting a pot belly.
- Seeming more tired or inactive.
- Getting skin infections or growths often, including warts and papillomata.
Is Cushing’s common?
Cushing’s Disease is fairly common in older dogs and is often misdiagnosed. Many people think that the symptoms are just part of their pet aging, which causes missed diagnosis in many cases.
Cushing’s is more common in certain breeds of dog. Breeds who are more prone include: beagles, Boston terriers, boxers, dachshunds, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Scottish terriers, Yorkshire terriers, and terriers in general.
To diagnose Cushing’s your veterinarian will do a blood test, an ACTH Stimulation Test, or a Cortisol-Creatinine Ratio Test. These tests will look for cortisol levels in the blood and urine and are often used in conjunction with an ultrasound to make the final diagnosis.
How can you treat Cushing’s Disease naturally?
The traditional method used to treat Cushing’s Disease is surgery to remove the tumor. Veterinarians may also prescribe hormone-regulating medications. However, surgery can be invasive and dangerous, especially in older dogs, and medications can cause additional side-effects. Instead, more natural options can provide your pet relief without the stress of surgery or liver-damaging medications.
Full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) can help treat Cushing’s Disease by treating the hormonal imbalance and shrinking, or even eliminating, the tumors causing the issue. In fact, one of the primary uses of hemp extract is to treat tumors. In research conducted by A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Center in Molecular Toxicology, Vanderbilt Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers concluded that CBD is promising in the treatment of cancer and tumors.
Another recent study found that CBD inhibits the growth of cancerous cells in mice with pancreatic and bladder cancer. Not only did CBD inhibit cancerous cell growth, but also proved to prevent future tumors. The conclusion of this study noted that CBD could be a viable option to treat tumors in both humans and animals.
From a hormonal standpoint, full-spectrum hemp extract (CBD) works to treat the imbalance which may be causing the tumors in the first place. This means that full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) can correct the hormonal imbalance in pituitary and adrenal Cushing’s. In a study conducted by the Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, researchers found that cannabinoid exposure could have profound effects on the function of the endocrine stress axis. Additionally, hemp seed oil contains the perfect balance of omega fatty acids and is high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid – all of which contribute to healthy hormone balance.
The most effective way to treat Cushing’s with full-spectrum hemp extract (CBD) is through an oral tincture with a high number of cannabinoids and active CBD. We recommend HEAL 1100 mg Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (CBD), which can be taken once daily. Despite common misconceptions, dosing has very little to do with your pet’s size or weight. Finding the right dosage depends on your specific pet, their specific issue, and how sensitive their endocannabinoid system is.
Based on research and our experience, we recommend staring with 35-50 mg daily to treat Cushing’s. You may find that your pet needs less as they recover.
For the fastest and most thorough absorption, lift the lip and apply dose directly onto the gums, as the most direct way into the bloodstream. If added to food, the medicine may not be as effective and can take significantly longer (30-45 minutes) to reach the bloodstream as it works its way through the gastrointestinal system.
If your dog has growths on the skin due to Cushing’s, a topical full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) salve can be applied directly to the growth. We recommend applying REMEDY Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (CBD) Salve twice a day until the growth falls off. Because dogs have endocannabinoid receptors in all three layers of their skin, topical full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) salves are extremely effective.
Remember, if your pet is taking medication to treat their Cushing’s and you would like to use full spectrum hemp extract, you should begin to wean them off of the medication. Discuss with your holistic veterinarian the safest way to wean your dog.
To read a real-life example of how CBD helps dogs with Cushing’s, read Olivia’s story here.